AIR FORCE T-38 TRACK INTERMEDIATES
boundaries: "I won't go above 9K, unless I know what I'm doing, and I won't go below 6K
unless I have a handle on things." Likewise, "I won't go any farther east than 38 DME on
Rosehill and no farther west than 46 DME," that way you will stay within the 37 to 47 DME
boundaries and if you work along the center radial (the 260), you should have no problem. Work
your in-flight planning/area orientation as well. If you are approaching a boundary, think of a
maneuver you can knock out when you are doing your tight turn to work back to the "meat" of
the area. String all your maneuvers together airborne so that you can maintain your area easily.
If you "paint" yourself in the corner in the area, you may have to change the sequence you had
planned. Be flexible, see these conflicts early, and plan accordingly.
Energy management tends to be a hard concept to visualize but it is very relevant airborne,
particularly when working in the vertical plane during heavy maneuvering flight. Your total
energy state is always going to be a function of the sum of your potential and kinetic energy; this
is very relevant during T-38 FORM because you will be exchanging kinetic and potential energy
while you stay in the area. Your neutral energy setting is going to be 7500 feet MSL and 170
knots, 850 ft-lbs. With that energy state you can virtually do anything with the aircraft and stay
in the area. Good energy planning for yourself and your Wingman will be essential to mission
accomplishment. Keeping up with your energy state is going to tip you off when you need to
knock off the maneuvering and climb back up and get your energy back. As an example, if you
are 150 knots at 6000 feet, and you are working the block 5-10K, you do not have enough power
available and altitude available to get "over the top" airspeed without having the floor of the area
be a factor. Likewise, you do not need to be 190 knots at 9500 feet MSL because you cannot do
anything but descend and lose energy, or you will get too fast and risk over-G'ing the aircraft.
Good energy management will result in a neutral energy state throughout the profile. You may
be low in the block, say 6000 feet, but have over the top airspeed at 200 knots. You may be near
the top of the block, say 9500 feet, but have only 100 knots in the inverted portion of your Barrel
Roll. An even exchange of airspeed and altitude that results in a "neutral" energy state
throughout the profile is desirable. Typically this is going to be no more than 200 knots at the
bottom of any over the top maneuver, and no less than 100 knots at the top of any maneuver. If
you need to gain energy, then advance your power to higher than 850 ft-lbs; if you need to lose
energy, you can set power to something less. Good energy planning and execution is going to be
key in the T-38 so you must learn the basics now. In the T-38, at most you are going to have 20
minutes of time in the area to complete the entire set of area work so you do not have a lot of
time for droning or poor energy awareness. If you have to knock off maneuvering to get back in
the neutral state so that you can continue your profile, then so be it, you really have no choice;
but realize, you do not want to do that even if you can. Here is an example of energy planning
for your T-38 APA ride:
a. Come in at the top of the working area block.
c. 2 x G-exercise (energy loser, pulling Gs, losing altitude).
d. 1 x AGSM demo (energy loser, pulling Gs, losing altitude) check altitude and
airspeed (energy state), fix if necessary.
2-8 T-38 PRECISION AEROBATICS